My grandmother had the most incredible garden in northern California. Every visit involved taking a tour of her backyard as she named plants I’ve long forgotten and wish I remembered. We’d often stop to sit side by side in the big cushioned swing. She’d sing and I’d peel a fresh-picked tangerine. To this day the burst of citrus when I peel a cutie for my kids takes me back to the sound of her voice humming and the warm sun on my upturned face.
I love and miss her dearly. She’s in my thoughts every day, especially when I’m gardening.
My grandmother loved roses above all else. In my yard, I have one tiny section of a flowerbed that gets the perfect amount of sunlight. When we first moved into our home, my father-in-law planted rosebushes for me. I learned a trick my first spring that has my roses earning me rave compliments (and I like to think my grandmother smiling down on me too).
Plant a banana peel at the base of the plant, about an inch deep, in early spring. So far (and I’m knocking on wood) this has worked to keep my roses blooming nonstop once summer officially starts and keeps the bugs from devouring the delicate plants. I’ll often have blooms through Halloween on my Midwestern plants.